No, we had the Great Depression and then WWII.
William Kenan Rand

I’m not denying that the postwar landscape gave us a huge economic advantage in the ’50s. But your argument (and conservative thought in general) ignores two massively important things.

  1. By any metric you care to use, the economy was stronger on Pearl Harbor Day than it was before the stock market crash in 1929. FDR fixed the economy *before* we got into the war. And then the postwar boom helped us even further. But had the war not happened, we still would have been a prosperous nation thanks to the New Deal.
  2. If not for the New Deal, the vast majority of those postwar riches would have gone to robber barons and industrialists. But the New Deal insured that we shared the wealth — the American economy doubled in size between 1930 and 1970, and wages doubled apace. Farm families went from having an outhouse on their property to having a two-car garage. And working-class people had money to put back into the economy, which kept prosperity going. That doesn’t happen without the New Deal. And for proof, look no further than Reaganomics — ever since we shifted the tax burden off the wealthy, deregulated the banks and other industries, the economy has continued to grow, but wages have flatlined and we’re back to the boom-and-bust cycles the New Deal was put in place to stop.
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